ABC Works to Rehabilitate Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's Reputation After Pining for George W. Bush
Published: 8/23/2010 8:15 PM ET
ABC News set out Monday night to rehabilitate the reputation of the iman behind the proposed mosque near Ground Zero, Feisal Abdul Rauf, trying to discredit criticism of him from the right as Sharyn Alfonsi portrayed him as a model of religious tolerance who condemns suicide bombers, terrorism and Hamas and who deserves admiration because he "eulogized Daniel Pearl."
The night before, in a Sunday World News story on protests over the mosque, ABC expressed sudden respect for former President Bush as reporter Linsey Davis used him to undermine opponents: "In an attempt to make a clear distinction between Islam and terrorism, within days of 9/11 President Bush went to a mosque."
Alfonsi generously began with how "he candidly discussed his beliefs with Barbara Walters for her 2006 special on Heaven" where he promised her "the Jews, the Christians, whoever believes in God and does good will be saved." As for whether "one man's suicide bomber is another man's martyr?", Alfonsi assured viewers:
In his book, the imam wrote: "The truth is that killing innocent people is always wrong and no argument or excuse, no matter how deeply believed, can ever make it right."